At the end of Marriotts Ridge’s acrobatic routine, the Mustangs pulled a large school flag out of seemingly nowhere to end their routine with a bang.
However, what didn’t come out of nowhere on Wednesday night at Reservoir was the excellent routine from the Mustangs, who won their third consecutive county cheer title and second straight fall crown.
“I knew this team would do great things,” said Marriotts Ridge head coach Sugene Shin. “I basically knew if the team worked hard that they would do well. As a coach, seeing their growth from mid-August to today is crazy.”
The Marriotts Ridge cheer team won the 2019 Howard County fall cheerleading championship.
While flags are common in high school cheer, Shin said she got the idea from a decade-old YouTube video.
“There was a video back in 2008. They had the same concept of pulling out a flag," Shin said. "Every flag I’ve seen had poles, but this one was clean and sharp and different. I knew it would match our team.”
After the routine ended, senior Emma Clarke was positive that the Mustangs, who were the penultimate team to perform, would be crowned champions.
“The feeling of hitting (a routine) is amazing, and I had that feeling today,” Clarke said.
Marriotts Ridge handily won the championship held at Reservoir High School. The Mustangs’ routine earned a 121.8 score from the judges — ahead of Glenelg’s 115.2 and River Hill’s 113.
Shin said the strongest part of her team is the “leadership” from senior captains Kristen Trainer, Andie Batten and Clarke.
“These three are my strongest stunters, so it’s going to be hard next year when I lose them," Shin said. “They consistently have a great attitude. They really help push the team. These three are the epitome of what a leader and a captain is.”
Shin said the fall championship is extra rewarding because of how far the team has come. She said the beginning of the season wasn’t as smooth as in year’s past and that the Mustangs had to overcome obstacles to become the top squad in the county.
Senior Andie Batten agreed and said it was only a matter of time until the team’s talent came together like it did Wednesday.
“It was an awesome feeling, because as a team in the beginning, it didn’t go as great as it could have,” Batten said. “But we knew we were stacked as a team. We knew we had the potential of being a dream team. We worked hard enough, and today we achieved that dream of being a dream team.”
Kristen Trainer, who Shin said is “an amazing athlete," said the best part of the event was celebrating after the announcement that the Mustangs were champions.
“Automatic tears,” said Trainer of her reaction. “This team puts in the hours. Everything you saw on that mat was an act of hard work, dedication and love. There’s so much love on the team it’s insane. The feeling of celebrating together was amazing."
The other members of the Mustangs’ county-championship winning squad are: Ademilola Adeyemo, Cloe Altenburg, Elizabeth Choi, Melissa Kressen, Kara Lee, Madison Matlock, Kaitlyn McDonald, Alexa Mulroe, Tess Parks, Alexa Pastras, Brooke Rosewag, Camryn Sanschagrin, Molly Stump, Victoria Vandenberge and Rowan Vessey.